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Community Manager (en/es/it/pl/ru)

  • "Vilya" is female
  • "Vilya" started this thread

Posts: 8,685

Date of registration: 3. September 2014

Location: USA

Occupation: Last Chaos Community Manager

Thanks: 349

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Monday, 8. February 2016, 13:59

Interview with Scimitar Part 1

Quoted from "Vilya"

Good day Lords and Ladies or Iris!

Often times, while sitting in game chatting with you all, the topic of how to get a job in the gaming industry comes up. I figured it was as good a time as any other to sit down (figuratively speaking of course) with the Head of Product Management for Last Chaos, Kings and Legends and War2Glory games.

So here is a glance into the inner working of the head cheese (a term which has nothing to do with dairy..or cheese, but that’s a whole other topic) of our game trifecta. Introducing Scimitar, our fearless PM!

Question: How long have you been involved in gaming?
Response: Well, the answer that you would get in our bugtracker reads like please specify "involved" and "gaming" but I guess this is not what you wanted to get, is it?

Actually I don’t really remember when I started playing videogames. In fact I never had a gaming console. Not even a GameBoy. My first computer was an Apple II with a green monochrome monitor and it was capable of running an ASCII adventure game called “The Castle”. No point and click there… you had to type what you wanted to do like open door and had to be lucky that it was one of the predefined options the game would understand. A much better experience a little later was on a Commodore C64. That one had something really cool: Colors!
Another few years later I got a 286 PC. That one did not only have color, but also a “turbo button” that was boosting system speed to blazing fast 16 MHz and it had a hard drive of 32 Megabytes to put the programs and games on.

By the time when I graduated at highschool, we tried to create our own point and click adventure all related to our class and school. It did not get finished in time… however, let’s skip another few years of playing several offline games. Indeed my first free to play online game was shipped with a games magazine and was a gamigo title called Regnum Online. I did not expect too much of a non cost game but I tried it due to the genre. And it got me quite quickly. Then this newsletter arrived saying we have launched another amazing action MMO ( yes, google is your friend, so what actually is an MMO ? ) called LastChaos. And I tried it… and I thought what crap is this? Only mouse control? You don’t need to aim, but you always hit? So I started to ask questions to almost everyone, trying to find out how everything worked and actually it was the community that go me more than the game itself in the first days.

I started to really play that one in February 2008 and became quite addicted soon after. I played a Rogue on the back then only German server Katar, joined a guild, found some new friends… and enemies. And finally I found some crazy guys in blue and pink pijamas who were glowing, and I found out, that there was a forum also. And hey, they were looking for yet another crazy guy willing to run around in a blue pajama sort of… they were looking for me!

I became a GameMaster in August still the same year and while gamigo launched another server and even a third one, good old Lady Thora told the GM team, that gamigo was looking for an assistant for the LC Productmanagement. So I applied for this job and started to actually work in the gaming business at gamigo in April 2009

Question: What prompted you to want the job you have now?
Response: Can I just say, see previous question? No? Alright. Well, the experience I had during my time as a GM was quite overwhelming. Running a game was really so much more than just running a game. And I like challenges generally, a good portion of creativity, psychology, mathematics… oh, yes, mathematics are great.

Studied that stuff earlier… but even greater is computer science. That combined with working on a software that is not doing just some insurance stuff, but being a game sounded like a good idea.

Question: What schooling do you need to have to become a PM?
Response: I cannot really say what schooling you would need. Product Management by the book and Product Management in an online game are two different things. As mentioned already, you need some maths and some logics skills, some general business administration skills. You need to know that punctuation marks do exist and an academic degree does not hurt, but also is not vital. I believe the most important thing is, that you really care about your work and that you really want to get things running.

Question: Do you still have time for gaming?
Response: Yes, even though you can call it part of the job. Playing different games is not only fun, but also inspiration. You cannot sell a game if you don’t play games. But I have to admit, that sometimes working with a game all day makes you step back a little from playing yet another game in the evening. Nevertheless I still play and sometimes I have to pay for that the next morning ;) I’m also still best buddy in the game with my private character to some of the biggest troublemakers of our communities, but they don’t know that.

Question: Who is the boss for real, you or the development team?
Response: There is no boss. We are contractors to our development partners. They do not interfere with our work and we… well, we interfere a lot, but not by pulling rank or something like that. It is about negotiation and discussions and making each other understand what should be done for the long term success of a product. There are always hundreds and thousands of things that could be done. We follow the same intentions, but sometimes a good intention is not enough. Things can go wrong on both sides and it no use talking about who made a mistake as long as the common goal is to make up for those mistakes quickly. Unfortunately this does not always work for different reasons, but that’s another story

Question: What does your average day involve?
Response: One thing that I like about this job also is, that there is not average day. We are working on such a lot of different tasks and lot’s of things are depending on the outcome of other things. Of course there are things done repeatedly, which is talking to the game devs, checking reports and numbers, discussing different topics with my team, having some feedback meetings other departments, do some coding work where we lack a tool, make sure testservers get updated when we receive patches. But this is not what makes the job interesting and challenging. Online games are a very fast business. We need to be faster to be successful, and we need to respond to different situations sometimes instantly. Running a team that is running even three online games in 8 different languages makes it even somewhat more challenging, but also more interesting, and luckily I have to say, most of the time the team does an amazing job.

This interview is a bit longer than anticipated, so I have decided to split it in two parts. Stay tuned for the second installment of this interview coming tomorrow.

Thank you for reading,
... written in English by Vilya (Community Manager of Last Chaos )
... English translation by Vilya (Community Manager of Last Chaos )
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